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The physics of flying seeds

Students will design and build models inspired by flying seeds with the goal of making the models travel as far as possible. Students will test the models, analyze which ones performed the best and explain why those models performed well using physics principles.

Science in a snap

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “New high-speed video reveals the physics of a finger snap,” which details scientists’ exploration of the friction required for finger snapping. A version of the article, “Camera captures physics in a snap,” appears in the December 18, 2021 & January 1, 2022 issue of Science News.

Science on screen

Students will discuss the physics of finger snapping and apply their scientific knowledge to think critically about the scientific accuracy of movies and online demonstrations.

Sizing up alien rain

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “How the laws of physics constrain the size of alien raindrops,” which explores a new model for rain on planets across the Milky Way. A version of the story, “Physics helps alien rain stay in shape,” appears in the May 8, 2021 & May 22, 2021 issue of Science News.

Modeling molecules in alien rain

Students will compare and contrast rain on Earth with rain on other planets and practice drawing molecular structures of various rain substances to examine the substances' physical and chemical properties. Students will use that information, along with the planetary conditions needed to form rain, to create a short weather forecast for one planet.

Building better boxes based on beetles

In this activity, students will learn about the seemingly indestructible diabolical ironclad beetle and review Newton’s laws of motion and force diagrams. Then, students will design, build and test crush-resistant packaging using biomimetics, the practice of solving problems using solutions inspired by biological structures and systems.

Accepting the exceptions

Students will discuss the classical definitions of chemical bonds and determine how to adjust those definitions based on new research. Then, students will talk about the best strategies for assessing general chemistry concepts and exceptions to those generalizations.

Protective headgear design challenge

Concussions are a common sports injury. After reviewing Newton’s laws of motion, force diagrams, momentum, and elastic and inelastic collisions, students will test various materials that might protect the head from sports collisions and use those materials to design protective headgear.

Exploring electromagnetic radiation

Students will watch a NASA video about the electromagnetic spectrum to learn about properties of the various types of radiation. Then, students will explore and discuss technologies that use specific types of electromagnetic radiation.

Lunar orbit

Students will practice analyzing and graphing data about the moon’s orbit. The activity will help students understand the Earth-moon system and the nature of elliptical orbits.

Digital circuit design

Students will practice designing an integrated circuit that can accomplish a simple task. The activity will help students understand that digital circuits are composed of logic gates made up of transistors.

Many Moore transistors?

After watching a video about transistors, your class can use these discussion prompts to analyze transistor technology and predict future trends in computer processing.